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Ways Around Within a Budget

Updated on August 23, 2016

A big saying in my house these past few years has been "We will when we can." And that has been a painful lesson, something that I don't think anyone should have to go through, even though it seems more and more like just a normal slice of life as it were.

In the hopes of helping you, dear reader, not have to deal with it as long or alone as some have, I offer these tips, tricks, and useful ideas that even if I haven't tried yet myself, I have done the leg work for you and hope that it truly works out!

Where I would like to start is cleaning. Dishes, laundry, dusting, scenting, sweeping, and much much more is a hard part of life when you are limited on supplies, on space, and on time. My husband and I have gained a few skills over time and I am here to share what we have learned!


The Two-in-one

Something that I find frustrating is everything that is needed to do laundry. You need anything from a washing machine and dryer (let alone hookup), laundry baskets, quarters if it is charged in your complex, the time to do it all being sacrificed from your downtime, and the ever present disaster if one of those machines breaks. Or maybe you are someone who refuses to do the laundry the machine route and you have to sacrifice even more time with hand washing.

There are a few things that I would gladly offer as advice and tips. First, if you don't have a washer or dryer and you don't have any quarters or change to do the laundry should it be coin operated, ask a friend or family member if you can do it at their place. If you are anything like me, you often want that human interaction anyway, and if you happen to have very eye for an eye family or friends offer to do their laundry as well while you do yours! Why not take a load off their back for payment? It's all in the bargain.

Second, look for alternatives. Let's say you don't have a washer and dryer, but you have a hookup, or maybe you don't even have that and are short on room as is, like a dorm room or studio apartment. There are a myriad of washer-dryer alternatives. My personal favorite is this beauty.

This is a great alternative when it is something that you need. Yes, it is small so you can not fit in a very large load, and it is manual but you turn it slowly not fast. The main upshot here is saving space, energy, and money. It is under $60 (6 rolls of quarters, so about 18 loads and you begin making a profit). This type of product is something that I firmly believe in. If you don't soil clothing to the extreme and you don't try to overload it, you shouldn't have any problems. Of course, this is an opinion, not by any means what you personally will think of it.

It is important to be able to look at what you do and don't have an option for as far as space, energy, money, time. Be realistic and be smart, and you will see a lot of options open up if you start to look for them.


Scourge of the Cleaning World

Dishes to me is like being stuck waiting for a train to pass for three hours because they continually back it up to get going again. We can't escape them, we can't ignore them, they are just always there. As someone who loves to cook and someone who loves to eat, from a family of eaters, dishes are abundant.

There aren't a lot of money saving tips for dishes. Something to keep in mind here is moderation. Just because the water gets a little murky doesn't mean it has to be changed right away, you don't need a bottle of soap per batch of dishes (unless you feed a small army), and keeping a sponge clean (see below) will save you many trips to the store. They can be used more than once! Also, doing some research into alternative cleaners might help. Many common household items (salt, baking soda, vinegar, etc) have good cleaning priorities.

As far as getting them done my biggest advice with dishes is this: put on some great music loud in the background; get that sink filled with hot soapy suds, and...get...scrubbing!

Dishes are a lot like the laundry issue. If you don't have the space or money to constantly be running a dish washer, or if you just flat out can't (please do not put normal soap in a dishwasher...please) there are again options for you to choose from. I have not personally used a 'replacement' for a dishwasher besides my hands, and sometimes that is the best. But they do exist, I have heard good things, and there are many different bonuses that could come from that. I would say, get on Amazon, Craigslist, something to that level and begin your search if this is the route you wanted to go.

If you are okay with by hand, here are a few tips to remember:

  1. A good sponge is important. If the sponge or cloth you have is getting old, dirty, or is thick with build up, put it in a soak of baking soda and hot water for a few good minutes. Take it out and if its still not good; try finishing the cleaning with some white vinegar. Give it a good rinse and it will be good to go!
  2. Baking soda is really a powerful cleaning agent when cleaning by hand. Letting a crusty dish soak with hot water, baking soda, and maybe a splash of dish soap will get most build ups to come off relatively easy.
  3. (This one may start a fight) When letting your dishes dry, have your eating utensils all pointing up (EXCEPT FOR SHARP KNIVES!). This allows the water to drain down, leaving a streak free, and more sanitary device!

Sorry to say, at this time, I don't have many other tips for this horrible chore, but I will do my research and let you know as soon as I can!


What chores would you want tips on?

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The Supplies

Cleaning and house care should never be left to just MAYBE get done, and it should not be something that has to be put off because of rent. It is important to live in a clean and healthy home, and the process of cleaning in and of itself is invaluable. It makes you happier and keeps you strong and loving with your space.

If you find yourself strapped for cash a lot and need to clean, I have a not-so-secret that I hope will help...and only a piece of it is baking soda! Go to Google and find your closest Dollar Tree/Dollar Store/99 cent store.

These stores do not sell bad products, they do not try to cheat you with what you are buying. Genuinely, they have amazing things there. When we got our first apartment, we had nothing. No dishes, no food, no supplies. We spent $99 and furnished our home with those dishes and supplies, as well as stocking our fridge and pantry.

There are items at the Dollar Store that you may not think would be. Large amounts of laundry detergent, dryer sheets, bleach, vinegar, baking soda (see I promised), dish soap, cloths/paper towels (although from my side of things, please get something that you can wash and reuse). Do yourself a favor, take an afternoon or morning and go walking around one of these stores. You will be so surprised, if you haven't before, at what you can find.


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